House Republicans’ report faults Obama on Benghazi attacks

President Barack Obama
Updated 28 June 2016

House Republicans’ report faults Obama on Benghazi attacks

WASHINGTON: Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee faulted the Obama administration Tuesday in a report on the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, and other Republicans accuse the Obama administration of stonewalling important documents and witnesses. Democrats say the panel’s primary goal is to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
Clinton was secretary of state during the attacks, which killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, in two assaults at the diplomatic facility and CIA annex.
The Libya attacks became immediate political fodder, given their timing in the weeks before President Barack Obama’s re-election, and that has not abated despite seven previous congressional investigations. There has been finger-pointing on both sides over security at the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi and whether the White House initially tried to portray the assault as a protest over an offensive, anti-Muslim video, instead of a calculated terrorist attack.
Democrats released a report Monday saying that while the State Department’s security measures in Benghazi the night of Sept. 11, 2012 were “woefully inadequate,” Clinton never personally turned down a request for additional security. Democrats said the military could not have done anything differently that night to save the lives of four Americans.
On Tuesday, the panel’s Democrats denounced the Republicans’ report as “a conspiracy theory on steroids — bringing back long-debunked allegations with no credible evidence whatsoever.” The statement added: “Republicans promised a process and report that was fair and bipartisan, but this is exactly the opposite.”
The State Department also issued a statement Tuesday, saying that the “essential facts” of the attacks “have been known for some time,” and have been the subject of numerous reviews, including one by an independent review board.
Spokesman Mark Toner said the department had implemented most of the recommendations of the independent review board and is continuing to expand security at its facilities and improve threat assessment.


3,000-strong African force planned against Sahel extremism

Updated 28 February 2020

3,000-strong African force planned against Sahel extremism

  • The force would be a significant new player in the Sahel where fighters linked to Al-Qaeda and the Daesh group killed thousands of people last year
  • The decision by African leaders comes as the United States considers cutting its military presence in Africa while urging African solutions to African problems

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: African leaders have decided to work on deploying 3,000 troops to West Africa’s troubled Sahel region as extremist attacks surge, an African Union official said Thursday.
The force would be a significant new player in the sprawling, arid region south of the Sahara Desert where fighters linked to Al-Qaeda and the Daesh group killed thousands of people last year — at times working together in an unprecedented move.
The decision by African leaders comes as the United States considers cutting its military presence in Africa while urging African solutions to African problems. That has sparked pressure from worried security allies including France and regional countries as well as a rare bipartisan outcry among lawmakers in Washington.
Smail Chergui, the African Union commissioner for peace and security, relayed the new troop decision that was taken at the recent AU summit during a meeting Thursday with visiting European Union officials.
The AU continental body is expected to work with the West African regional counterterror force G5 Sahel as well as the West African regional body ECOWAS, which has formed peacekeeping units in the past, Chergui said.
ECOWAS in September announced what Chergui called a “very bold” plan to counter extremism in the region, including mobilizing up to $1 billion through 2024.
“As you see and recognize yourself, the threat is expanding and becoming more complex,” Chergui said. “Terrorists are now even bringing a new modus operandi from Afghanistan and Al-Shabab” in Somalia.
It was not immediately clear what the next steps would be in forming the AU force for the Sahel, which has become the most active region in Africa for extremist attacks.
The force would join France’s largest overseas military operation, the 5,100-strong Barkhane, and the 15,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, one of the hardest-hit countries in the attacks along with Burkina Faso and Niger.